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Cat People Reviews

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Cory T

Super Reviewer

October 3, 2013
Most of Paul Schrader's films have contained elements of psychological terror before but he has only attempted unadulterated horror B-movies twice in his career (this being the first example and the second being the highbrow but interminable 'Exorcist prequel 'Dominion'). In regards to 'Cat People', he has crafted a sizzling, off-kilter piece of art-house erotica that is hardly frightening but it is always engrossing. If Zalman King was cross-pollinated with a dusky music video, it would resemble 'Cat People' in many ways. The art direction during the desert prelude and Kinski's psychedelic, full-frontal trek through the woods is absolutely impeccable. The moodiness is so pervasive that matter-of-fact ineptitude, like ungainly scenes of Kinski scaling trees, can be forgiven. The fact that Oliver, the zoologist introduces Irena to the art of devouring oysters (a well-known aphrodisiac) hints at the carnal subtext of the film. As the tight-lipped and cripplingly shy Irena, Kinski is both titillating and primal. We actually feel sorrowful that she cannot experience love without dire consequences to her mate. Truthfully 'Cat People' is somewhat uneven with sedate character-building scenes interrupted by gore-strewn excess (a panther autopsy and an arm dislocation), but it is ultimately a gorgeously photographed, underrated remake of the 1942 classic.

Super Reviewer

February 7, 2013
This one must have been with TV viewer in mind. Bring Back The Black & White films, cause this one sucked, 2 stars 2-7-13
Apeneck F

Super Reviewer

October 16, 2011
Schrader delivers a sexually charged yet lanquid piece about a young woman who reconnects with her long lost brother only to discover an interesting and ancient family secret. Modern day animal animus fantasy done as creative soft porn with Bowie's "Putting Out The Fire With Gasoline" as the soundtrack.
Ken S

Super Reviewer

May 11, 2007
Entertaining, fun and full of nudity. Not as good as the original, but still worth a watch.

Super Reviewer

January 25, 2011
Not seen the original so can't really compare the two, but I imagine it's a million miles away content wise with this remakes' abundance of nudity and moments of bloody violence. I thought this was a pretty good film actually. It's style over substance so it's easy on the eye but dull on the the brain but I enjoyed it. Cool music too. And forget Nastassia Kinski, Annette O'Toole steals the show for me - BEAUTIFUL!

Super Reviewer

January 11, 2011
I hate remakes, but this movie had a good cast, so I thought I'd check it out. The story is extremely confusing, and it's a lot more disturbing than the original too. It's hard to tell what they were trying to do with this movie. I didn't care for this film.

Super Reviewer

January 20, 2009
The only advantage this remake has over the 1942 original is a naked Nastassja Kinski.

Super Reviewer

July 22, 2007
Mixed in sexual frustration and spiritual repression, this remake of the Val Lewton classic relocates the story of a young woman burdened by an ancient curse from the Big Apple to the Big Easy.
Nastassja Kinski basically makes every film look good and she's damn sexy here, as the confused beauty torn between incest prepositions (by Malcolm McDowell) and sincere declarations of love by John Heard.
Horror-thriller remake of 1942's Cat People.
EightThirty .

Super Reviewer

March 12, 2010
16/03/2010 (ONLINE)

"Werecats?" I've heard about" Werewolves" but "Werecats?" Pretty cool, I love crap like this! Not bad at all and quite entertaining, the trasformations on this is quite surprising noting the date it was made.

Easy to follow, although "John Heard" who I've actually never heard of, had some amateur lines during the movie, the film was good enough for me to ignore those shocking lines and laugh a little in disbelief.

Slightly erotic, but not so much that it kills the flow of the story like some budget scare flicks where there is more tongue festivities than an actual story.

A treat for bordensyndrome.

Super Reviewer

November 29, 2009
It will never hold a candle to the original, it was an interesting film though.

Super Reviewer

December 11, 2009
Not Original Idea, but nice to watch.

Super Reviewer

July 2, 2007
This is an interesting interpretation of the original, using the same themes of repressed emotions and sexuality and taking it to the next level. Nastassja Kinski is a young woman, newly come to America to live with her older brother, Malcolm McDowell. What she doesn't know is that she and her brother are the results of incest (parents were brother and sister) and, as if that wasn't bad enough, descended from a long line of inbreeding shapeshifters. It seems that the members of her truly twisted family can only mate with each other. To do otherwise causes them to transform into vicious black panthers, which must kill to regain their human shape.

Set in New Orleans with dreamy flashbacks to a mysterious desert land of red skies and massive bare trees draped with exotic panthers, Cat People is visually stunning. Haunting and moody, it moves at the pace of a dream that gradually turns into a nightmare. It doesn't lack for good performances either. Nastassja Kinski is flawless; sultry, vicious, frightened and innocent all at once. Her scenes with her transformed brother/wild panther, are absolutely hypnotic as the two beautiful creatures lock eyes and blood flows. Malcolm McDowell is perfect as her perverted brother, casually menacing and always bestial, killing with barely a shrug and raging as the transformation overtakes him.

I've never understood the bad reviews this film has always received. I thought it was very well done, very atmospheric and tense, It paid homage to its predecessor with a great swimming pool scene and a spooky jog through a night time park. You'll either love this film or hate it. While I can't say this film is a lost classic, I do feel its a film worth checking out
Red L

Super Reviewer

October 16, 2007
A strange movie. Cat people turn into cats after sex, and will only turn back into humans if they kill someone. Natassija Kinski plays the role with innocence, sexiness, wonder, dread - it is hard to imagine the role with anyone else. I'd love to see the 1942 version.
Cameron W. Johnson
Cameron W. Johnson

Super Reviewer

October 17, 2013
"Well, it's been so long, and I've been putting out the fires with gasoline, putting out the fires... with gasoline!" Ah, now that is one addictive song, at least in this film, because no matter how groovy Stevie Ray Vaughan's guitar solos were, the "Let's Dance" re-recording was a little too uneven for my taste. Shoot, I don't know if the original version is that much less disjointed, at least in the context of the film, because it is so '80s that it took a lot of inspiration from the goth scene and still sounded a touch too upbeat for a horror film. Well, to be fair, the original from 1942 was by no means all that scary, and at any rate, just how horrifying can an erotic thriller starring Nastassja Kinski possibly be, fellas? Well, as misfortune would have it, the lovely Miss Kinski had finally decided to try out that blasted boyish haircut that was all the rage with accidental transvestites-I mean, women back in the '80s just in time to do this film, and besides, she's almost as skinny in this film as the snake that was wrapped around her the year before. ...Nah, she's still pretty hot, but she wasn't quite the bombshell she usually was, which is a shame, because "when else would we have had the opportunity to see Nastassja Kinski naked while in her prime"? I joke, but apparently a naked Nastassja wasn't exactly selling "Stay as You Are", probably because people were too creeped out by the fact that she was 17 when she did the film, so you can see the irony in the fact that she was well into the age range the creepy people were waiting for in this film, yet the project turned out to be a thriller that's actively trying to be creepy. Well, it's not like this thriller is all that effective, for although it gets your attention on more than a few occasions with something, its "fire" gets worn down by more than just... gasoline (It doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but that's still a funky tune).

More so than the 1942 "original", as irony would have it, this film has some unique elements to its story concept, yet those refreshing beats often go betrayed by formulaic areas in the telling of this tale that would perhaps be easier to forgive if some of the more familiar attributes didn't involve some '80s overstylization. Now, this film isn't quite that overstylized as a run-of-mill project of the 1980s, but it still gets to be a bit too fluffy for its own good, especially considering that it's supposed to be a horror film of some kind, and that waters down effectiveness, about as much as atmospheric spells that are more limp than fluffy. There's a certain meditativeness to this film inspired by a thriller that was itself inspired by noir elements, and also had less meat to meditate upon, yet that's not to say that this film is frequent with its own juicy material, because when material to meditate on runs out, the film limps out as kind of atmospherically cold, at least until relative atmospheric pick-ups kick in somewhat jarringly. Pacing is somewhat uneven in atmosphere alone, juggling meditative, maybe even cold spells and more briskly-paced, maybe even overly colorful spells, until the two-hour length becomes palpable, and more than it perhaps should be. There are certainly more layers to this drama than there were in the 1942 counterpart, but I can't help but feel as though those layers wouldn't be shifted around so unevenly if each section in this narrative wasn't so drawn out by draggy, repetitious material that has certain elements stay too long for their eventual exit to be organic, and after a while, starts to thin out focus to the point of rendering the film aimless. Pacing problems are subtle, but in the long run, they end up sinking their teeth pretty deeply into the compellingness of this film, draining juice and leaving you to soak up natural shortcomings, as well as other inconsistencies in pacing and uniqueness, until what you end up with is a meandering drama that holds plenty of potential, but just ends up kind of sputtering out as a bit underwhelming. That being said, while this film doesn't thrill too much, it compels a fair bit with something time and again, or at least entertains more often than not, particularly with its musical aspects.

Now, David Bowie's theme song for this film, "Putting Out Fire", isn't necessarily all that excellent, but it's both one of your better '80s original film songs and one of the Bowie's best efforts, and I can go on talking about how entertaining and dynamically structured it is, but it isn't really played up until the credits, and before that, the musical integrity of this stylish film rests solely on the shoulders of Giorgio Moroder, whose score has its cheesily overstylized moments, but is generally pretty entertaining with its style, particularly when it goes controlled enough by haunting atmosphere to serve as an effective compliment to tone. This thriller is both very '80s and very meditative, and the soundtrack, alone, breathes plenty of life into these themes, or at least keep things reasonably lively, but it's highlights in Paul Schrader's direction that really kick things up, as surely as it's the very directorial effort that really slows things down in plenty of areas. When Schrader's atmospheric storytelling isn't all that realized, the film simply limps out, and sometimes even goes the opposite route and becomes too fluffy to be all that thrilling, but Schrader's missteps are light, and when the strengths kick in, they really do work on a certain level, meditating upon meaty areas in material in a way that inspires a subtle degree of engagement value which often goes a good distance in drawing tension, or at least enough intrigue to entertain, and therefore draw a fair bit of your attention toward the potential of this story that goes betrayed in plenty of places by storytelling hiccups. Sure, the execution of this story concept has its formulaic spots, but if you step back and look at this subject matter, while it's not that unique, this loose interpretation of DeWitt Bodeen's story concept for the 1942 "classic" is genuinely refreshing in plenty of places, taking audacious thematic and tonal approaches to intriguing subject matter with a certain ambiguity that makes the mystery elements which kept the original going in a lot of ways even more biting. Now, there are natural limitations to kick in this story concept, and enough to play a bit role in holding the film all the way back as, not simply shy of strong, but decidedly quite underwhelming, at least when backed by uneven storytelling, but there is still a decent bit of potential here, and when it's sold, it's hard to not be engaged, whether justice is being done by the aforementioned highlights in Schrader's direction, or by inspired acting. There isn't a whole lot for this talented cast to work with, but the performers play their parts quite well, and that especially goes for some of the more primary players, such as Malcolm McDowell, - who proves to be disturbingly convincing as a dangerously unpredictable and maybe even deviant man with dark secrets - as well as the beautiful Nastassja Kinski, whose subtle, even human emotional layers sell the confusion and fear of a woman who begins to tap into dark areas of her bloodline, and face some serious dangers along the way. There are quite a few strengths, but not a lot of them hit all that hard, so the missteps are brought to light enough to water down the memorability of this thriller, yet there is still enough inspiration to style and substance, backed by commendable performances off of and on the screen, to make the final product endearing, if held back.

When the fire is finally put out... apparently with gasoline (Ah, get out of my head, David Bowie!), kick goes too doused by formulaic areas, unevenness in pacing and focus, and aimlessness for the final product to escape underwhelmingness, but there is still enough style to score work, effectiveness to direction, intrigue to the story concept, and inspiration to Malcolm McDowell's and Nastassja Kinski's performances for Paul Schrader's "Cat People" to stand as a reasonably entertaining, if not tense erotic thriller, even if it stands to have more fi-...spark (I've "burnt" that song reference out at this point).

2.5/5 - Fair

Super Reviewer

March 18, 2010
The story line concerns two orphaned siblings (Nastassja Kinski and Malcolm McDowell) who were reunited in New Orleans as adults--but they are, unbeknownst to the sister, the descendants of an unknown tribe of fanatical animal worshipers who can only mate with their own kind. If they mate with species outside of their circle they will turn into vicious black panthers who must then kill to regain their human form. The brother thinks the only way to save their dead race is by an incestuous relationship but when Natasha refuses his advances and falls in love with a hunky local zoo curator named Oliver (John Heard) all hell breaks loose as Malcolm goes on a killing rampage.

The movie includes some sultry vocals by David Bowie and the beauty of a black panther is also something to appreciate. It is quite graphic in terms of blood and gore and full-frontal nudity but if you possess a desire to walk on the wild side, or you want to see Nastassja Kinski morphing into a panther, or Annette O'Toole baring her breasts in her midnight dip, then CAT PEOPLE will suit your every need as a guilty pleasure.
Adam M

Super Reviewer

February 9, 2011
Femme Fatale-type horror/thriller. A pretty young woman arrives in New Orleans and is greeted by her bother. We soon find out that things aren't what they seem as the brother acts strangely towards her. Turns out these guys are Cat People, maybe the only two of their kind left and they must mate and kill to live on. But when the young woman falls for a bloke, things seeemed doomed. Natassia Kinski gives a decent, understated, pert and perky in all the right places performance and although going on a bit to long this aint to bad.

Super Reviewer

August 14, 2007
Cat People is sexy due to the presence of Nastassja Kinski in the lead. The story is a little silly but I think the actors manage to make it work. It's not just about a brother Malcolm Mcdowel) and sister (Kimski) who transform into panthers.

The movie has a very sexual tone with them transforming into panthers after sex. Despite the violence it's mostly a story about seduction and incest. But it never actually has an incest scene thank god. I haven't seen the original but I highly doubt it had all the nudity and steamy sex scenes. The movie is sort of a mess but the cast and stylish direction and music kept my attention. It manages to work as a love story even if it is trashy.

Super Reviewer

June 9, 2008
silly premise..but the locales are mood setting and nastassja's signature part was the music in this darkly lit and theme story
Christopher B

Super Reviewer

March 21, 2008
One of the Paul Schrader films I hate, this was made before every fanboy's mantra was "Remakes suck!", but there really is not much to recommend here. Despite having a few cool visual moments this is a very plodding and unrewarding experience.
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